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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Canberra start-up is making sustainability as easy as saying ‘Hey Fritz it’

A Canberra-based company is going global to promote sustainability and to inspire people to make better use of what they have in their home.

While studying at ANU and watching the world fill up with waste, Mick Fritschy was driven to make sustainability as easy as saying “Hey Fritz it”. After a chance meeting at the Canberra Innovation Network, Hey Fritz came to life with the help of co-founders Sammy Williamson, Dilyar Barat and Michael Redman.

“It’s about creating a community that is focused on reducing waste and striving for a sustainable future,” said Ms Williamson.

“Your run-of-the-mill household drill gets used for 13 minutes in its total life before it ends up in landfill. It’s really sad … but there are things that get used even less.

“We want to be the go-to platform for people to rent, borrow, buy and sell … We want to empower different individuals and businesses to use the platform to start a business.”

After facilitating the matching of borrowers and lenders by email and Facebook over the past six months, Hey Fritz has now launched its website, a platform that directly connects platform users, called “Fritzers”, with each other.

Mr Fritschy said he wanted the concept to be like “turning to your neighbour”.

“People who are looking for things which they don’t have, instead of going to buy them, they can find them around the corner,” he said.

“It’s like the concept of turning to your neighbour but the opportunity is broadened by the platform so it’s joining people together.”

According to the Hey Fritz team, an average Western household is estimated to accumulate 10,000kg of purchases. If each household reduced their purchasing by 1%, it would save 1 billion kilograms of waste per 10 million population.

Ms Williamson said the Hey Fritz community will have saved 13.5 tonnes of waste by October this year.

Mr Fritschy said that for every 250 transactions, a tonne of waste is saved.

“We’re going to have an impact tracker to show the Hey Fritz community altogether how much waste they’re avoiding into landfill,” he said.

“We’ll also do it on an individual level as well so we can tell people the impact they’re making though renting rather than buying.”

With a total of 500 sign-ups, 150 from Canberra, Hey Fritz is taking their vision to other parts of the world and has a target of reducing durable item waste to landfill by 15% within five years of implementation in each community where it is adopted.

Ms Williamson said one of their main points of difference from Gumtree and Facebook marketplace is all items listed on Hey Fritz are covered by insurance, and all users are ID verified. Items that can be listed on the website range from small items like university textbooks to champagne walls, bikes, “stationary” caravan rentals and even “space”.

“It could be a space someone has with a workshop in it,” said Mr Fritschy. “Someone who doesn’t have a workshop and wants to do a project with their child can take them to someone else’s space.

“We also do services as well so people can list a service that they have on the platform … so someone could either lend a mower or they could offer the service of coming around and mowing your lawn with that mower.”

According to Ms Williamson, the oddest thing listed has been coffins from a holistic, sustainable funeral home.

“We want to empower any business to operate through the platform and we definitely don’t discriminate. Anyone can come to us with any odd item or odd request, and we will be able to facilitate it,” she said.

“We’re hoping to show people that the options are endless. Whatever idea someone has, whatever item someone has, they can put it on the platform. Someone is going to want it out there.”

For more information, visit www.heyfritz.com

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